Earlier this month we invited you to participate in a post designed to further the conversations surrounding missions around the world. This post is the summarized compilation of the answers you sent us. Thank you to everyone who took the time to sit and listen. Even if you did not contribute to this post we encourage you to use these questions as launching points for gaining deeper understanding, trust, and connections.
Allow me to introduce you to our international panel
- In Nicaragua, Cassie interviewed her friend Juan.
- Ellen spoke with Samuel, from a very rural nomadic community of pastoral people in Northern Kenya, who moved up from teacher, to headmaster, to school inspector and is now: Constituency Elections Coordinator Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for Kenya.
- Dustin interviewed Dr. Hugo Gomez who works throughout Central America. He the president of Global CHE Enterprises with community development efforts in Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
- Levi submitted answers from a group of local pastors in Japan.
The first questions speak of impact.
1. What do foreign missionaries do well? How have they helped your country?
The missionaries that I have found to be the most helpful are those who are open to sharing their lives with us and at the same time learning from us. They have had different experiences in their lives and are able to share and learn with us about how to live in a more peace and just-filled world. Missionaries also have a lot of access to financial capital and resources, which can be beneficial if it is used correctly.
The core issue is the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
They blend the spread of the gospel with developmental issue in areas that touch on humanity development (medical work, education, part time jobs in their areas of specialization etc.).
They come in handy in very remote areas in seeking solution to perennial problems bedeviling residents of the far flung marginalized communities. Just thinking of how for example they help during boreholes breakdowns, means of transport from time to time, cases of expectant mothers that develop complications during deliveries to referral hospitals.
Through exchange programmes for students and interns empowerment in relevant fields is enhanced.
Revenue collection in Missionaries run facilities am thinking of the Buffalo country Kijabe (The hospital and the academy and all those replicated in the country)
Hold Nations accountable to the people in some instances.
Dr. Hugo Gomez said:
- Role Model of Commitment to the calling obeying the Great Commission and Great Commandment leaving their comfort zone even Short, Middle or Long Term.
- Set example of Wholistic Ministry amidst biased or dichotomized widely spread worldview.
- Conduct good studies, keep statistics way far better than most of us nationals.
- Help nationals plan and evaluate more objectively (specially whenever evaluations are in a participatory style)
- Set good models of Stewardship/Administration for Ministries and Institutions.
- Set good examples of punctuality, order and ornamentation.
- During the 60s introduced diversification of crops in contrast with Monoculture/monocrop growing corn and only corn (staple food).
- Have done New Testament Translations to most of the 24 languages and whole Bible translations to about a dozen Maya languages.
- Have provided or channeled scholarships both in-country and abroad for theological studies, secondary and university and post graduate studies
- Have trained and equipped Christians (and non-Christians) for ministry
- Have helped or invested in projects of infrastructure, church facilities, schools, clinics, housing, wells and other well-intentioned projects.
The Japanese pastors said:
Believers visiting from another country can give a great example of what it means to be a Christian: ‘Not what to do, but what to be.’ (This was explained to be especially true for Japan, which doesn’t have the Christian heritage of a country like the UK.)
Also, having Christians from different countries attend Japanese churches acts as an ‘object lesson’ in having international worship. … teams to Japan should not try to be Japanese, but rather seek to love the Japanese, and thus give an example of what it means to share Christian fellowship across cultural barriers.
The second question addresses assessment.
2. How could foreign missionaries better serve your country and people?
I have seen all types of missionaries here in Nicaragua. There are several that come here, don’t learn Spanish, live in their huge houses on the outside of town and have no real and meaningful interaction with the local people. But there are other types of missionaries who choose to live among the poor, immerse themselves in their communities, come as learners and have an impact through relationships. We really need more of the second!
Missionary work has come of age thus the need for the current crop of missionaries to live with realities of time in their engagements with the local communities.( Building of partnerships in activities undertaken to add value to works done once they leave.)
Supplement government effort in alleviation of suffering among the citizenry.
Dr. Hugo Gomez said:
- By increasing cross-cultural understanding efforts.
- By increasing contextualization in contrast with culturalization which leads to alienation.
- By continuing to train and equip national leadership.
- By empowering national leadership by gradual delegation of authority.
- By helping in multiplication of local leadership.
- By “working with” instead of “doing for”
- By letting nationals design and build once safe and widely accepted technical specifications are met.
- By avoiding systematic relief services.
- By encouraging nationals to invest their local resources (human, material, financial, livestock, property, etc) as much as possible.
- By promoting and encouraging Transformational Development Ministries like CHE.
- By continuing to witness about the Good News of Christ to non-believers and to disciple new believers
The Japanese pastors said they would like:
People with a willingness to: make friends, receive help, listen & learn, give the language a go. Good communication before and during ministry. Establishment of sustainable ministries. Respect for the local leadership. Humility.
“The pastor is the shepherd, so before you do anything with his sheep you should ask him.”
“The best type of missionary is a person with a broad heart.”
The third question gives us a look at the future.
3. What is your dream for your country?
My dream for Nicaragua is that all people could live in peace and out of poverty – with their day to day needs met while feeling like they are contributing to the great society.
To see a country anchored in the Lord, that is at peace with itself and its neighbours
A country where human suffering is minimized and where there is room for all to grow in all spheres of life.
A country where there is equitable distribution of resources.
Dr. Hugo Gomez said:
To see individuals, families, communities continuously multiplying in and through Community Health Evangelism towards Transformational Development in the Abundant Life the Lord has made available for all here on earth and for eternity.
We are hopeful about what we can all learn when we take a moment to stop and intentionally listen to the amazing people we all work alongside.
What have you learned lately from the people of your current nation of residence?